Online betting services in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have been stung with a new 15% wagering tax, according to a local report.
Similar to a bill already in place in South Australia, the point of consumption (PoC) tax on online betting services means that ACT operators will have to pay a 15% tax on the net betting revenue they receive from customers and companies.
The new tax, which was presented in the ACT’s budget for the upcoming 2018–19 fiscal year, will come into effect on January 1, 2019.
In line with other jurisdictions
According to a report from The Canberra Times, the ACT government said that the introduction of the new wagering tax was similar to that of other areas.
Western Australia is expected to implement its own 15% PoC tax by 2019. Victoria was also believed to be following suit with a tax, but at 8%, while New South Wales is expected to decide on a tax in the coming months. However, a report from last month noted that the Victorian government had failed to announce a point of consumption tax on corporate bookmakers during its 2018–19 budget.
With several Australian states having already introduced a PoC tax, governments will receive tax from wagers placed by players in their state. This is regardless of where a betting operator is located. In the case of the ACT jurisdiction, the tax is expected to bring in A$2m (£1.1m; US$1.5m) in revenue each year, according to budget estimates.
Budget papers note that “the introduction of this tax will bring the ACT into line with multiple other Australian jurisdictions which are also in the process of implementing point of consumption tax arrangements”.
Of course, while gambling comes with its negative effects – such as problem gambling – the revenue generated from the tax could ultimately help to boost the country’s economy, with gambling operators now required to share their revenues with the states and territories.
Poker machine numbers cut
In addition to introducing a new wagering tax on betting operators, the ACT government has also stated that it will be cutting down on the number of poker machines at local clubs.
At present, there are around 5,000 gambling machines across the territory; the government is planning on reducing this number to 4,000 by 2020.
It’s hoped that the measure will help to reduce the impact this may have on problem gambling and the billions that are lost to these machines each year. It’s estimated that the average Australian adult loses around A$1,000 (£570; $765) each year as a result of gambling.
Protecting young people
In Australia, the gambling and betting market has grown. Consequently, though, the growth of the industry means that more people – particularly the younger generation – are becoming exposed to it. Figures from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation show that seven in ten people think that young children are exposed to too much gambling advertising.
Some steps are being taken. A report released in March indicated that gambling ads will no longer appear on live sporting events broadcast on Australian TV. While problem gambling remains a concern for many countries, the Australian government is seeking to protect the younger generation from the impact that gambling could present in their later lives. The only way to do that, of course, is by taking action now.